Manual or Electric Toothbrush: Which one should you choose?
As you stand in the oral care aisle, it is easy to feel overwhelmed when
looking at the 100+ options of toothbrushes. Do you want something for sensitive
teeth, whitening, deep clean, etc. What about extra soft, soft, medium, hard
bristles? Battery, rechargeable, sustainable, ergonomical, the lists go on and on to
determine which toothbrush is the right fit for you. The main objective when choosing your next
toothbrush should include prevention of tooth decay, reducing plaque levels and avoiding
damage to enamel and gums, then you can decide which colour the handle is.
Choosing a manual toothbrush is not a bad option, lots of people prefer it! It is important
you select a soft or an extra soft bristled toothbrush so that you protect the enamel and gums.
Instead of a fast side to side brushing motion, which can lead towards gum recession and
permanent enamel damage, you should begin brushing by placing the bristles at a 45 degree
angle to ensure the bristles are connecting with the tooth and gum. Facing upwards on the top
teeth and downwards on the bottom teeth, start small circular movements on each tooth lasting 5
seconds then a gentle flick away from the gums to remove plaque sitting along the gumline.
Although manual toothbrushes seem to be the preferred option due to cost, an electric
toothbrush has never been more affordable! A battery powered toothbrush is a cheaper option
compared to a rechargeable electric toothbrush and can be found on Amazon and Walmart for as
little as $10. If you need multiple electric brushes for another person in your home, Costco offers
great deals and multi-pack toothbrush heads.
Pros of Manual toothbrushes:
- Thinner toothbrush handle
- A large range of sizes
- Easy to travel with
When selecting an Electric toothbrush, you will find there are two top brands; Oral-B and
Philips Sonicare. Both are great options but according to the Oral Health Foundation, Oral-B has
been identified as the leading electric toothbrush with the oscillating (rotating both directions)
circle-shaped heads. If you prefer a regular shaped toothbrush head then Philips Sonicare could
be the right fit for you.
Using an electric toothbrush is user friendly as it only requires you to hold the brush head
on the tooth, still at a 45 degree angle, for 3 seconds then move onto the tooth. Some
toothbrushes will beep or chime to indicate you’re complete in this area and can move on to the
next quadrant of your mouth.
Recent studies have been clear that an electric toothbrush will more effectively remove
plaque and a superior option to manual. “Further findings from the Journal of Clinical
Periodontology, found that electric toothbrushes resulted in 22% less gum recession and 18%
less tooth decay over the 11-year period.” 1
Pros of Electric toothbrushes:
● Helpful with children & adults with disabilities
● People with braces / orthodontics
● Challenges with Dexterity
● Timer for 2 mins
● Pressure sensor
● Multiple modes & settings
● Option to have an App and track progress
There are no right answers when choosing a toothbrush but many factors
you’ll need to consider. What is most important is that you disrupt the bacterial growth of plaque
two times a day to decrease plaque levels which will lead to inflammation of the gums and tooth
Written by: Ashley Roberts, RDH